From the Public Gallery: so Now we wait

“Interesting” was Justice Dwyer’s description of the hearing that finished just before 1pm on Thursday November 2 in the Auckland Environment Court.
“It’s been,” he said, “a very interesting case.” And a long one – its original allocation of two weeks was extended by a day and a half. How it might compare with other cases Judge Dwyer has heard since he joined the Environment Court in 2006 we don’t know. But his interest and attention during the, at times excruciating, process of cross-examination appeared never to flag.
Several Great Park Society board members attended each day on behalf of you as members. We wanted our presence to be a visible reminder that this small piece of Auckland is loved by so many and that a thousand houses are no substitute for an estuary that is a life-giving reservoir for the Hauraki Gulf.
Attempts were made by the appellants’ witnesses to demonstrate the potential benefits of urbanisation but we felt the Society’s lawyer Martin Williams dealt with each claim more than adequately. The key issue it seems, according to Resource Management Act language, is whether “adverse effects” on the marine reserve, on the Outstanding Natural Landscape and the Significant Ecological Area, can be “avoided” – not just remedied or mitigated.
Judge Dwyer warned that with a busy court work load and the large amount of work needed to finalise their decision, along with Xmas and holidays, it will likely be March before he and Commissioners Bartlett, Dunlop and Bunning release their decision. In the meantime, we continue to hope and to fundraise. We’re confident that, one way or another, our (your!) money will have been well spent.